I have lots of foofy cookware which I won't get into. I used to use non-stick, my only comments on non-stick now is: ICK.
Over the years I have slowly focused most of my cooking on my two cast iron skillets. a 10 inch and a 12, both that my dad picked up at a church yardsale for $2-3.
Just yesterday my GF picked up a slightly rusty one at Todd Farm Antiques & Flea Market in Rowley, MA. I scrubbed it with a scouring pad for 10 min or so, and seasoned it 2-3 times REAL HOT, with some canola oil and it is as good as new, er... as good as old. Figure we can get another 200-300 years out of it.
I use cast iron for:
Seared fish - crispy outside, slightly rare inside
steaks - first seared, then finished in the oven
stir fry (cause I don't have a restaurant grade gas circle hot enough to do real justice to a steel wok)
potatoes with cheese and onions in the oven
crispy --- anything
8 hour, slow baked, pork shoulder, Boston butt
And on, and on...
Basically, I cook a lot, and 90% of what I cook is prepared using one of the two skillets. They never fail me. If you don't have one, Amazon sells them for small money. I would start with a 10 inch:
But even more fun, pick up a 100 year old one at a yard sale and give it another 50 years or so.
Do keep in mind that cooking, cleaning, and caring for one is a little different then a regular pan. This site looks pretty respectable with regard to care and use:
Have fun, your food will never taste better.
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